Keystone Coats for Kids drive underway

From staff reports

Keystone Coats for Kids is starting its winter coat drive. This is the third year for the drive.

The cost of each coat is $18, but no donation is too small, organizers said in a press release.

This year, a person with Caps for Kids will be hand knitting several caps to distribute along with the coats.

All coats are purchased through Operation The coats are fleece lined and have a fleece-lined hood.

Donations can be made payable to Keystone Coats for Kids and either mailed to or dropped off at Farmers National Bank, P.O. Box 665, Knox, 16232 or dropped off at Knox Auto Supply in Knox or New Bethlehem. The donation deadline is Oct. 20.

Drive organizers said 100 percent of the donation goes toward purchasing the coats.

The first Keystone Coats for Kids drive was held in 2015 and there were 270 coats purchased that year. In 2016, the goal was for 500 coats and that goal was met and 507 coats were purchased.

“This year it would be fantastic if again there could be at least 500 coats purchased because there is such a great need in the area for these warm coats,” organizers said.

Keystone Coats for Kids has distributed coats to schools in Clarion County, ACV First Program, Keystone SMILES, Clarion County Promise, Head Start Programs, Clarion County Children and Youth Services, local day cares, Next Step Therapy, SAFE, Knox Caring Cupboard and Clarion Psychiatric Center.

When the drive was started it was intended to serve the children in the Keystone School District, according to the press release.

“Keystone Coats for Kids will continue each year as long as there are people out there willing to give, because unfortunately there will always be children in need of a warm coat,” the press release said.

Operation Warm was started by Dick Sanford in the winter of 1998 after he drove past a group of children without coats huddled together at a bus stop in Kennett Square located in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

The sight of the children led Sanford to a local store where he purchased 58 coats that were given directly to children in need. His generosity inspired the creation of Operation Warm and since then millions of coats have been purchased as a result of communities working together to improve the livelihood of children in need.